PAYETTE – Payette County Clerk Betty Dressen announced her retirement on Tuesday evening.

In a phone interview on Thursday morning, Dressen said that she tendered her resignation to the Commission on May 19. She has been the Payette County Clerk for 17 years.

Dressen, who provided a copy of her resignation letter to The Argus, explained how the process of counting ballots has changed over the past few years with the introduction of new state software.

“With health issues being exacerbated by the current Covid 19 issues and programming issues with our new election software in the State of Idaho, feel it is time for me to retire,” Dressen wrote in her letter.

She said how the county used to do a central count, but a precinct count has been done over the last few years.

“I thank the public for being as gracious as they’ve been,” said Dressen.

She also explained how with the current system, staff at the County Clerk’s office have had to wait anywhere from 5-9 p.m. just to be able to access the system and get the data recorded. The scheduling has caused staff to make changes in their work routines to compensate.

“It’s just been a very trying primary. New software at the Secretary of State’s office has caused a lot of comp time to be put in,” said Dressen.

“When it’s a state system, you’re just a sitting duck. You do what you can, whenever you can.”

In finding a replacement for the County Clerk position, Dressen said that the Republican Central Committee will choose three applicants to send to the Board of Commissioners, who will then choose a new county clerk.

According to the letter, Dressen states that her final day will be June 1. Ballots for the upcoming Idaho Primary Election will start being counted on June 2. Due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Idaho will be conducting a mail-in election for the first time.

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